Phew!  What a year!  In my personal life my eldest started school, my youngest turned one, then started nursery.  These were all big events for us.  We got on a plane for a two-week family holiday in the sun (possibly our last for a while, now we’re restricted to school holidays) and of course, Tiny Chipmunk has continued to grow.

Almost a year to the day, I set out my resolutions for 2017.  Have I achieved them?  Let’s see!

Arrange my own shipping.  I’m pleased to say I met my (irrational) fee about shipping head on and went and sourced quotes myself.  I still used my manufacturer’s recommended forwarder on one occasion (when it was the cheapest quote), but for my latest order I used a company I found myself, which worked out cheaper.  I have also been sending part of my orders via air, with the rest to follow via sea or train.  This is working out well, so far!

Investigate alternative suppliers.  Well, I have a new supplier for my towel and I am currently awaiting samples from a new swaddle supplier.  While a part of me feels bad for my existing supplier, the delay for the last order was the push I needed to look elsewhere.

Expand.  Erm – no.  In part, this is due to being out of stock so long over the Summer. I also don’t feel like I’ve ‘conquered’ the European marketplaces yet.  Plus, I know there will be tax implications and I haven’t had the time or energy to look into it so far.  It’s definitely on my list for 2018 though!

Get organised around marketing and sales.  I now have a marketing plan, I’ve been taking a look at marketing spend and I’ve been a bit more strategic around my social media. I could probably (and will) do more here, but a good start!

Network.  I feel I’ve done pretty well here.  I go to a face-to-face networking event every month and I’ve got more active in the Facebook groups I’m a member of.  I feel I can do more here but, like everything, it ultimately comes down to time and priorities.  Next year I’m going to an event for manufacturers / creators of baby products and I can’t wait for that!

Look at other retail options.  I guess I did ‘look’ at options, so it’s not technically a no. Although, I’m counting not a yes, as a no (if that makes sense!)  I approached two retailers and one online marketplace and haven’t had any luck with either.  I’m not being deterred though and this is still high on my agenda for 2018!

Launch new products.  The towels are now in stock, so this is a definite yes!

Overall, not too bad!

In no particular order here are my goals for 2018:

  • Get more sales through my own website.  I’m currently building my Shopify store, with the aim of having it live by the end of the year.  It will be very similar in look and feel to my current website, but with added features, such as the option to leave product reviews.  I’ll share more about my reasons for this in a post next year.
  • Launch another new product.  I’ve had so many product ideas, now I need to start researching, validating and sourcing them.  I hope to have something out in time for Summer.  Watch this space!
  • Get stocked in a retail outlet.  I spoke about this in my review of last year.  The fact I haven’t achieved it this year hasn’t deterred me, as I don’t feel I’ve put enough effort into making it happen.  I have an exciting new idea, for early 2018, that will hopefully help with this…
  • Launch in another (Amazon) marketplace.  I would still like to try another marketplace. I’m currently thinking the US, or Australia (due to be launched soon, I believe).  It will take some more consideration though, as I’m sure there will be more competition and the demand for my products might not be there.
  • Get a grip of my Finances.  Don’t get me wrong, I know what goes in and comes out every month/week/day – but I do think I need to get more into how much I’m spending, where and where I can cut back to increase my margins. This isn’t my strong point, so it will be a challenge, but an important one!

As I write this, I can feel my excitement levels growing.  I started out on this journey, not sure how far I would get, or how far I would even want to go.  I really hope that my continued passion for it, helps to push me a bit further along next year!

Until then, happy new year to you all. I hope 2018 is a happy and successful year for you and you achieve all your dreams!